Self-Designed Interdisciplinary Majors

Final approval of these majors rests with the Director of Interdisciplinary Studies. The director evaluates proposals for majors after they have been approved by the faculty members consenting to serve as major advisors.

Students electing this option may apply as early as their third semester but no later than four weeks after classes begin in their fifth semester. Deadline for application is four weeks before the last day of classes if the application is to be acted on that semester.

Interested students should request proposal guidelines from the Provost’s Office and should consult two faculty members, who should assist the student in planning the major and preparing the proposal.

Since an interdisciplinary studies major requires well-developed integrative skills, students who wish to propose such a major will have to demonstrate academic ability beyond minimum competence:

Normally, these students are expected to have and maintain at least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average.

Here is a detailed description of the steps necessary for declaring an interdisciplinary major.

  1. In preparing proposals, students should keep in close touch with their intended advisors and should have each advisor send a supporting statement to the Director of Interdisciplinary Studies Committee indicating agreement to work with the applicant until the completion of the proposed major.
  2. The proposed major should have a descriptive and appropriate title. This title will appear on the student’s transcript.
  3. A list of courses should include all courses pertaining to the proposed major and should reflect depth as well as breadth. Coursework should total a minimum of 12 units of academic credit but should not number more than 15. No more than 5 units may already be completed at the time the applicant submits the first draft of a proposal for the major. Special projects courses should be listed under the categories indicated, together with the names of instructors who will supervise them. Special projects’ instructors should indicate their willingness to supervise these courses. Up to 3 units of special project work may count toward the major.
  4. A proposed term-by-term course schedule should list all the courses that will satisfy graduation requirements. Course scheduling will be subject to change, but the plans should be as specific as possible, including approved special projects.
  5. A copy of the academic transcript should be included.
  6. A conceptual rationale should cover the total interdisciplinary major plan and experience. This substantive essay should describe and explicate the proposed major. The rationale should:
    1. State how the proposed major is consistent with the liberal arts.
    2. Explain how the proposed major will integrate and reflect on the disciplines.
    3. Tie together the various components of the proposed major, with attention to the achievement of breadth and depth and the ways in which particular courses advance the goals of the major.
    4. Explain how the proposed major can be supported by faculty, library, studio, and other resources at Beloit College.
    5. Propose a capstone experience that will synthesize and integrate the broad range of knowledge acquired in the process of completing the major.
    6. Explain why a departmental concentration would not serve the student’s intellectual goals.
  7. An abstract of one page should introduce the proposal and include:
    1. Title of the proposed major.
    2. Names of advisors.
    3. A one or two-paragraph statement of goals and objectives containing a precise indication of the focus and intentions of the major.

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